Another Home Disappointment
Yesterday’s 1–1 draw brought Everton’s home league record to five wins, three ties and eight losses (the Toffees are 10–3–9 including cup competitions). If there were fans in the stadium, the players would be getting an earful from the Goodison faithful. The Blues’ squad — senior players excluding those currently out on loan — is set to earn around £84 million this season, which is the eighth-highest in the EPL (per Spotrac).
For a team that is in the top half of league spending, losing almost twice as many games as they have won at one of the most hallowed grounds in English football is simply unacceptable. The lack of crowds can be argued as either a benefit or hindrance, but the bottom line remains: visiting teams aren’t troubled when traveling to Merseyside. A win Monday would have put Everton within two points of fourth place with a game in hand. Instead, they continue to flounder in eighth.
Nowhere to hide this morning. I'm disappointed I didn't take my chances yesterday. We learn and we move. A week to regroup and time to kick on next Monday. pic.twitter.com/TqEwydSToL— Dominic Calvert-Lewin (@CalvertLewin14) April 6, 2021
Poor Finishing The Weak Link
Monday’s match saw the Toffees register 15 shots —seven of which were on target — their second-most prolific outing of the season (they accrued 17 shots against West Brom in September). Despite an offensive outburst, the Blues were rewarded with just a single goal for their efforts. Part of the credit must go to Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who was quick off his line and strong in goal. The rest of the blame, however, falls to poor finishing and Everton’s profligate nature in front of net.
James Rodríguez, while he did have a goal, blasted a moon-shot in the first half. Dominic Calvert-Lewin blew two one-on-one opportunities, sending his shots directly at Guaita both times. And Richarlison seemed to get a scoring chance every five minutes but was careless and wasteful. Such poor quality in front of goal cost the home side three valuable points, and the timing could not have been more unfortunate with how tight things are with trying to get a top six finish.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin Returns
There were few positives from the draw, but one moment should have made Evertonians smile with relief; in the 79’, the fourth official held up the substitute board, which boasted the number 25 in green. When Jean-Philippe Gbamin replaced James with ten to play, it was the midfielder’s first minutes in one year, seven months and 19 days, or 597 days. After arriving on Merseyside during the summer of 2019, the Ivorian played in two matches for the Blues — August 10th and 17th, 2019 — before suffering a thigh injury that would keep him sidelined for almost a year. An Achilles injury in May of 2020 would further prolong his return to action, and, on April 5th, 2021, the 25-year-old finally returned. After almost 600 days away from the sport, Gbamin ran onto the field with a broad smile, a sight that undoubtedly warmed the cockles of every Toffees supporter.